Gerry McElwee Cancer Focus NI Marathon Man

01 November 2019

Gerry McElwee Cancer Focus NI Marathon Man

Cancer Focus NI's head of cancer prevention Gerry McElwee's first and only marathon was also the first Belfast City Marathon back in 1982.


“I trained for about 5 months alongside Jim McParland from Lislea in County Armagh and we ran together on the day.  In those days it was two laps of a shorter circuit around mainly south and east Belfast. It was a cold and windy day which made it tough going in places, especially on the Boucher Road where we were more exposed to the elements” he remembers. 


“There were just over 3,000 competitors that first year.  It had the feel of a local event back then, with a few competitors coming from GB and the Republic as well,” he says.


“With the large number of participants, it must have taken at least 10 minutes for the majority of people in the queue to cross the start line. From memory, our time was just under 4 hours but time checking is a lot more sophisticated nowadays.  


“It was a great experience and the large crowds gave the runners a huge boost all the way around the course. I remember meeting so many friends from various places who were participating either as runners or volunteers at the various stations and helping us all along the way. 


“Running the marathon is a fantastic, challenging thing to do and we felt a huge sense of achievement. If you are running in 2020, I’d urge you to run it for Cancer Focus NI. 


We’ve been bringing healthy programmes to communities, schools and workplaces while supporting cancer patients and their families for over 50 years. But we can’t do it without your help. We need you and I’ll be there to cheer you on”. 


The 39th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon will take place on Sunday 3rd May 2020 with a full line up of events to suit all levels of fitness including the Marathon and Wheelchair Race, the Team Relay, 8 Mile Walk and Fun Run.  The main marathon event will start at the iconic Stormont Estate, encompassing North, East, South and West of the City finishing in Ormeau Park, with incredible local support throughout.


Entries are NOW OPEN for the 2020 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon HERE via the brand new Eventmaster online registration system.  An early rate applies until Friday 29th November 2019 and final entry will be on 10th April 2020.


You also donate directly to Cancer Focus NI via their justgiving page HERE.